Panasonic’s new Blu-ray player isn’t much to look at. The DMP-BD65 is smaller than average and feels about as substantial as a biscuit tin. That said, the same applies to most of the opposition.
The player’s feature count covers just the essentials: it’s a profile 2.0 machine and can decode all Blu-ray sound formats and stream them via its HDMI output. But there are no multi-channel analogue outputs – something rivals like LG’s BD390 include as standard.
The BD65 has an SD card slot and a USB connection on its front panel, and the former, loaded with a 1GB (or higher) card can act as local storage for BD-Live discs. Networking has to be wired unless you use a USB transmitter (Panasonic supplies one for £79).
This player is a clear step-up from its predecessor, the DMP-BD60, and a tough rival for anything near this price point. Blu-ray images are crisp, clean and detailed; the colour balance is convincing (as is the way it delivers insight into dark scenes); and by class standards the handling of motion is good if not flawless.
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Sound quality is equally praiseworthy, whether the player decodes soundtracks on-board or sends them out for a partnering home cinema amp to decode. Whatever option is chosen, there’s plenty of authority coupled to strong dynamics and detailed resolution.
DVD performance is great, too
Performance with DVDs pleases, too, with sharp images and low-levels of picture noise.
Overall this is a fine effort from Panasonic and we’d expect that already competitive price to fall as this brand-new player becomes available at a wider number of suppliers. Even without that potential advantage, this Blu-ray player is a great buy.